SwiftCarbon debuts sub-700g SCULP road frame

Joint project with AX-Lightness, made in Germany

SwiftCarbon previewed at the Taipei Cycle Show a new joint collaboration with AX-Lightness. Made in Germany, the ultralight SCULP road frame boasts a legitimate sub-700g weight and it will eventually also be offered in fully custom versions – for a price, of course.

Swift's new SCULP is a prototypical German machine built with Swedish Textreme fabrics into an all-business design that stresses function over form. Aside from the nominally trapezoidal down tube, the frame primarily uses roundish profiles throughout with smooth tube transitions and enormous cross-sections across the down tube and chain stays to boost the bike's stiffness-to-weight ratio.

Profiles are slimmed down significantly through the upper half of the frame, however, so we anticipate the SCULP will still ride well.

Bearing seats are molded directly into the bottom bracket shell and tapered head tube, the dropouts and front derailleur tab are carbon fiber, and cabling will be convertible for mechanical or electronic use. Actual weight for a full painted medium-sized frame is just 680g including the cable hardware and rear derailleur hanger.

SwiftCarbon showed off its new ultralight sculp road bike, built by ax-lightness and displayed here with a high-end build kit to yield a 4.49kg (9.90lb) finished package:

However, that sort of performance on the scale will also make your wallet quite a bit lighter, too, as Swift estimates that the SCULP frame will cost about US$7,000 (£4,200) with a 3T Rigida LTD fork. Swift even plans to offer an ultrahigh-end "450S" complete build solely using parts manufactured within 450km of AX-Lightness's Bavarian headquarters – including lots of AX-Lightness parts, of course.

Woven layers of carbon fiber are used in key areas:

A similar machine on display at the Swift booth weighed a staggering 4.49kg (9.90lb, without pedals) but Swift estimates such a rig will command around US$17,000 (£10,000).

The extra-wide bottom bracket features bearing seats that are molded directly into the shell:

As if that weren't enough, Swift also plans to offer the SCULP in fully custom geometry for an as-yet-undetermined upcharge – quite astounding given that it's a modular monocoque design and not a tube-to-tube chassis that's more readily adjusted. Swift principal Mark Blewett says this is possible only because AX-Lightness is building the SCULP frame with aluminum instead of steel tooling, which doesn't last as long but is less expensive to produce in single quantities.

The SCULP will be available some time around August this year.

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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